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Finding Your Place as a Writer

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  #1  
Old 10-15-2010, 10:13 AM
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Icon5 Finding Your Place as a Writer


[This is partially just me rambling, so bear with me here. ]

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do when I "grow up" - I'm currently a junior in college, and the big, bad, scary "real world" seems to get closer every day. I know that, as terrifying a prospect as it may be, I want to make time for my writing and move towards taking it very, very seriously. I want to see my name on the cover of a book some day.

One of the things that has been weighing on my mind a lot lately is what kind of writer I want to be.

I've written a lot of unfinished fantasy novels, or at least large pieces thereof; some short stories which fall more into the category of "literary fiction" than anything else; a couple dystopian / sci-fi short stories; a few fragments of a paranormal romance novel; a surprisingly large amount of poetry, some of which I'm actually very proud of; and, of course, like any good literature student, piles and piles of analytical essays.

I've never really thought of myself as anything but a writer - not of any specific kind, just in general. Sometimes I'd label myself as a fantasy writer, but I also do weird academic things like read Proust for fun in my spare time, and overall most of what I read nowadays is literature in the strictest sense.

So I suppose my question is, do you feel like you have a certain identity as a writer? Do you know one specific genre is your specialty, and mostly stay within the confines of that genre, or do you write anything and everything that pops into your head? Do you have one genre that you write more seriously (with a goal of publication) and others that you just write for fun?

Do you think that we as writers should find a specialty and stick with it? Or do you think that experimentation is a good thing?

I feel like from a publishing / marketing standpoint, focusing on one thing makes a lot of sense - insofar as if a writer works within a certain genre, they can usually build a fanbase within that genre and their readers know what to expect from them. But I'm scared, I will admit, of having to decide to be a fantasy writer and only a fantasy writer and forget about ever writing literary short stories, or poetry, or anything but speculative fiction.

Anyway. Just thought it could be an interesting discussion. Opinions, anyone?

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  #2  
Old 10-15-2010, 02:56 PM
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Looking at it from the non-publishing point of view, experimentation is key in my mind. It helps you become a more versatile writer.

Looking at it from the publishing point of view, it's something I'm not familiar with. But I do believe it might be best to concentrate on one genre for at least a while to get, as you said, more well-known and build a fan base etc. But by that same token, being versatile would help, even if you don't seek to publish the works you do outside of your preferred genre.

Just my two cents anyway and hope people agree. If not, I didn't say I was an authority.

And I wouldn't want to be backed into a corner of writing in one particular genre either, so I can relate to what you feel.

A nice thread as well, Titiana.
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Old 10-17-2010, 12:04 AM
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I don't have a certain identity as a writer. I don't like to put myself into that specific genre because I don't think I'm a specialist in any genre. I just like to write, so I write whatever I feel like. Poetry, fantasy, crime, child literature. Whatever. I write my poetry with a bit more serious tone and mindset because I find that if you don't put more thought into it, then your reader's probably have a hard time with it. A novel gives you, usually, about a hundred pages to redeem yourself for one little confusion. Poetry often only gives you a few more lines.

Writer's shouldn't confine themselves to one specialty, I think. It limits their range of imagination and emotion, and it does exactly what you stated. You get reader's that know what to expect from you as a writer. To me, that's the problem with a lot of writer's right now. You know what to expect from King or Rowling or Meyer. Doesn't make it good or bad, but I don't have to read a King book to know someone is going to die, there's going to be a twist every other chapter, and the resolution will never completely satisfy me.

I like to keep people on their toes, and I think readers like that. I like that as a reader (granted, I like to be taxed when I read a lot more than the average reader). Screw social normalities and just write what one loves. It can't hurt the writer. Maybe just the reader. XD
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Old 10-17-2010, 01:42 AM
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My ultimate goal is to get my novel published, which will be the first in a planned series.
Edit: I should add it is written, but needs a serious edit.

But I'm currently having so much fun writing shorts that I know this goal is far from being attained. But as there's nothing but me standing in the way, and I am doing what I want, alls well.

Last edited by Redlorry; 10-17-2010 at 01:54 AM..
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Redlorry View Post
My ultimate goal is to get my novel published
Mine too, but everytime I think about the novel I wrote I hate it more and more. I'm going to write another in 2011 I think. Good luck with your novel Redlorry.
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:24 AM
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I understand the desire to know what kind of writer you are. But does the question really need to be answered? If you are a character in a story, don't you need time to develop too? But as a person, will you ever be done? When you're done and the little Turkey popup thing pops out...what's left? For me, why try to get done. Why nail it all down. Get comfortable with the unknown, the unfinished.

A good writer needs to be an interesting person. Everyone is so focused on writing. But hardly anyone thinks about their own growth. However will you hold my attention in a book if you can't hold my attention as a person? You have to be the life experimenter. Trying things others are unwilling or unable to try. Send your thoughts out like discovery satellites bringing intelligence back from the far corners of the human universe.

This might not be helpful, but it's my take on the question.

KBR

Last edited by KBR; 10-20-2010 at 10:25 PM.. Reason: mispelling
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:10 AM
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Well for me, since second grade I been filling my notebook with short stories. Now I have a deep passion for writing, I have a short story with over 16000 words and I'm still writing it. I always wanted to see my name on a cover of a book. It now turned into a dream of mine.
So I'm going to keep working on it.
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:36 PM
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I've always pretty much stuck with romance since I discovered the genre in my teens. I settled on paranormal romance, because that's what I prefer to read, and I'm interested in all things paranormal.

But if you're not sure what genre you want to write, I think experimentation is a good way to find out. If you choose to write for publication in multiple genres, you can always use a different pen name for each.
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Old 10-27-2010, 04:30 PM
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Finding my place as a writer is simple. Everytime I leave the keyboard I carrya bag of bread crumbs with me. I sprinkle them behind me leaving a trail I can follow back to where I started...there it is...the keyboard!!! I will have to say there was a short period earlier last spring when unbeknownst to me a small field mouse had secreted himself behind my tower. Upon my attempt to return half the crumbs were gone. I was lost and wandered the halls of my place for days on end. By sheer will and luck I stumbled upon the room where my keyboard sat waiting for my return. This happened several times until I spotted the mouse running with his paws and mouth full of bread crumbs. Being a tad smarter than your ordinary field mouse I began leaving tiny pieces of bread dipped in peanut butter. The little thief spent hours trying to pry his mouth open after he ate the first one. He now leaves my shit alone but I swear sometimes just to aggrivate me runs across the keys when I step out for a refreshment. I know it is uygrqipi74 b6t8oi-0!!!!!

Look what that little ass just did!
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Old 10-27-2010, 11:55 PM
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Lol
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Old 10-28-2010, 07:54 AM
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LMAO Gaines!!!

I don't know about finding places. I've always heard you should write what you would want to read. If that happens to be a murder mystery one day and a sappy romance the next, go for it. Just like there are readers who stick to one genre, and those who like variety, I think there's also writers who do that and still succeed. Personally, I've tried my hand at a lot of thing but I tend to stick to darker themes for short stories and an element of romance in longer ones. Mainly because if I put so much into a set of characters they become dear to me and I want to see them get a happy ending.
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Old 09-07-2017, 05:52 AM
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I find that I write about anything that seems to just pop into my head that day...

Like a set of numbers upon my Bin, they seemed like something strange. The way the sequence was, and the digits used inspired a short story. Digits hidden in plane sight, within Tax Return Reference numbers, National Insurance codes, upon the side of a bus, phone numbers and many more... What was it? A code... The kill-switch for the internet.

Many things inspire me to write daft shorts like that. While, I will not be pigeon-holed into a Genre specific writer, I try to write whatever I feel has a mode for something which may amuse in one way or another.

"I've always heard you should write what you would want to read." That is so true at times, Whisper!
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